Maroons stars Slater, Thurston return for Origin II


Billy Slater has been recalled, while Johnathan Thurston has returned from injury as Queensland Maroons look to bounce back in Origin II.

Head coach Kevin Walters has turned to Slater and Thurston in his new-look team for the clash at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on June 21 after the Maroons suffered a comprehensive 28-4 defeat to New South Wales Blues last month.

Melbourne Storm star and veteran full-back Slater was controversially snubbed by for game one as Darius Boyd retained the number-one jersey for the Maroons.

North Queensland Cowboys half-back Thurston missed the State of Origin series opener due to a shoulder problem.

But the iconic duo will face the Blues thanks to their strong NRL form alongside fellow inclusions Gavin Cooper, and debutants Tim Glasby, Coen Hess, Valentine Holmes and Jarrod Wallace.

A dislocated shoulder has forced Anthony Milford to drop out, while Corey Oates, Sam Thaiday, Aidan Guerra, Jacob Lillyman, Nate Myles and Justin O'Neill have been omitted.

"With our recent results we felt there was a need for change," Walters said on Monday.

"For game one we picked a team that won last year's series and the majority of those players were afforded the luxury to perform in game one.

"We didn't get the result that we needed to have, that Queensland needed to have so we went to plan B.

"[These changes] were always going to be in our plans to bring some new players into the team who haven't played origin.

"The transition period for Queensland is right now, it's not next year or the year after."


QLD Maroons squad in full: Darius Boyd, Will Chambers, Gavin Cooper, Cooper Cronk, Dane Gagai, Matt Gillett, Tim Glasby, Coen Hess, Valentine Holmes, Josh McGuire, Michael Morgan, Dylan Napa, Josh Papalii, Billy Slater, Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston, Jarrod Wallace.